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West with the Night by [Markham, Beryl]
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West with the Night Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 89 customer reviews

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Length: 306 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

From Amazon

One of the most beautifully crafted books I have ever read, with some of the most poetic prose passages I could imagine, such as the following, resonating with a stately and timeless quality so absent in our modern life:
There are all kinds of silences and each of them means a different thing. There is the silence that comes with morning in a forest, and this is different from the silence of a sleeping city. There is silence after a rainstorm, and before a rainstorm, and these are not the same. There is the silence of emptiness, the silence of fear, the silence of doubt. There is a certain silence that can emanate from a lifeless object as from a chair lately used, or from a piano with old dust upon its keys, or from anything that has answered to the need of a man, for pleasure or for work. This kind of silence can speak. Its voice may be melancholy, but it is not always so; for the chair may have been left by a laughing child or the last notes of the piano may have been raucous and gay. Whatever the mood or the circumstance, the essence of its quality may linger in the silence that follows. It is a soundless echo.
Born in England in 1902, Markham was taken by her father to East Africa in 1906. She spent her childhood playing with native Maruni children and apprenticing with her father as a trainer and breeder of racehorses. In the 1930s, she became an African bush pilot, and in September 1936, became the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west.

From Library Journal

Markham's West with the Night was originally published in the early 1940s and disappeared, only to be rediscovered and reprinted in the 1980s when it became a smash hit. This latest incarnation is a lavishly illustrated edition. Though Markham is known for setting an aviation record for a solo flight across the Atlantic from East to West-hence the title-she was also a bush pilot in Africa, sharing adventures with Blor Blixen and Denys Finch-Hatton of Out of Africa fame. Hemingway, who met Markham during his safari days, dubbed the book "bloody wonderful."
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 9200 KB
  • Print Length: 306 pages
  • Publisher: Open Road Media (Aug. 14 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008NVZF5S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 89 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,946 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Mere moments have passed since I closed the back cover on "West with the Night", and already I am missing its world and its voice. It is one of those rare books that can, with the simple fluidity of its narrative, pull you in and engulf you entirely.
I am not a big fan of the memoir, but Markham's (or whoever wrote it) voice is neither bombastic nor humble; she feels less a narrator or subject than a fellow traveller, along with you for the ride. Although the life she lived was extraordinary and compelling, she refreshingly views it in clipped, casual, careful terms, as unimpressed with herself as if she'd been a midwestern housewife, not a pilot and horse trainer in Colonial Africa.
Many readers will approach "West with the Night" out of a pre-existing interest in and knowledge of its era and characters, and will no doubt experience it entirely differently than I did. While a few names rang vague bells, for the most it was an engaging introduction. But I read it as literature, not as history, and enjoyed it immensely as such. I found her small personal anecdotes far more interesting than the accounts of her grand feats. The Atlantic flight that made her famous rounds out the end of the book, but is rather dry and dull compared to her African tales. Stories such as her father's pompous parrot had me in spasms of public giggles.
It is little wonder that Hemmingway praised this book, as the sparse directness of its utilitarian prose makes even the Old Man of the Sea seem a flowery romantic. Its structure can be rather meandering, but in that regard it resembles the contours of memory, which makes me believe Markham did indeed write her own book.
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Format: School & Library Binding
Taken to Kenya at age three, in 1905, Beryl Markham was raised on a farm by her father and a much-hated governess - her mother soon re-abandoned pioneer life for England. And while other girls were groomed to be ladies of society, she learned to ride and train horses, played with the Nandi boys living on her father's land and went hunting with their fathers. Barely 19, she became a professional racehorse trainer; at age 24 (1926) her mare Wise Child won the prestigious St. Leger, beating the odds and the favorite, Wrack, likewise initially trained by Beryl but taken from her weeks earlier by an owner distrusting her experience. After marrying and divorcing again wealthy Mansfield Markham, whose last name she kept, she met pioneer aviator Tom Black (later pilot to the Prince of Wales), who awakened her interest in flying and soon became her instructor. Having obtained her B license - "a flyer's Magna Carta" - Markham operated a taxi and cargo service out of Nairobi and worked as a scout for professional hunters like author Karen Blixen's (Isak Dinesen's) (ex-)husband Baron Bror Blixen. After her return to England, in 1936 she became the first pilot to successfully cross the Atlantic from east to west, against the headwinds. (She didn't reach New York, as planned - technical difficulties forced her plane into a Nova Scotia bog - but her achievement created substantial headlines regardless.) After being lured to Hollywood by a film project involving her flight, and marrying and divorcing again the man who later claimed this book's authorship, writer Raoul Schumacher, Markham ultimately returned to Kenya and to racehorse training. No less than six of her horses won Kenya's East African Derby, making her a local celebrity of considerable note. She died in 1986.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
I picked this up thinking it was a travelogue, only to find that it is actually a memoir by an Englishwoman who grew up in Kenya in the early 1900s, inhabiting the same world as those other female memoirists Isak Dinesan (Out of Africa) and Elspeth Huxley (The Flame Trees of Thika). Her youth, as recounted here, sounds rather magical: living on a massive farm with her father, a native boy as playmate and boon companion, being attacked by a lion and a baboon, learning to hunt with the natives, and as she moves from girl to woman, mastering the finer points of horse training and eventually flying in the '30s. Markham certainly comes across as one of those remarkable Englishwomen of the Imperial age, who succeeds at whatever she puts her mind too, breaking the gender barrier left and right as she does so.
However, her memoir is totally absent any mention of her missing mother, or indeed almost any other of the women she must have interacted with. A friend, who's read her biography tells me that she apparently didn't get on with many women, due to her iconoclast ways and alleged promiscuity. And, apparently, it's highly suspect as to whether she actually wrote this book-many believe it was written by her third husband!
In any event, the book is full of descriptions of the majestic landscape and the the wise, noble natives who lived there. Of course, like virtually all colonialists of that time, there's a naive assumption that her (white) people should be ruling over these benighted natives. Indeed, she exhibits a remarkable talent for doublethink, deriding the enterprise of big game hunting for pages, only to to on to describe her own exploits in aerial scouting of elephants for hunters and her close friendship with the most famous of these men.
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